My cat is funny. Sometimes when I’m sitting outside, I peek over and see him staring at me with his body halfway behind a tree or corner. He also will poke his head around doors so that all I can see of him is one eye. I call it creeping. It’s when you’re watching or observing, without drawing attention to yourself, and lately, I’ve been thinking about how many people are creeping online.
Most people online never message, comment, or write a blip. They go about their digital business as close to being a ghost as our tracked ISPs will allow us to be. Silent viewers. And lately, I’ve been thinking that it’s kind of weird. Why do so many of us feel the need to not participate in the internet happening around us? Do some of us have nothing to say? Or is the online world more of a place where we look to absorb things for ourselves – knowledge, culture, or entertainment – rather than interact with other people.
Social media, in particular, is supposed to be…well…SOCIAL! But that is not the case. In the past few weeks, I’ve asked my friends and followers to interact with me, asking them questions, sending DMs, responding to silly posts, etc. And every single time I feel like the weird one. Like I am breaking some kind of digital protocol that you don’t bother others online. (The only exceptions happen to be my close friends and family, who respond regularly.) While other bloggers and artists are often more keen to reply and share, I’m continuously perplexed by how often an incentive to interact is met with crickets. Is this because people are using social media as the ultimate voyeuristic tool, watching others without them knowing? Or is it sheer laziness? By the latter I mean it has become another form of entertainment. It’s not really social; it’s mostly just observing what those close to you are up to, neither participating nor engaged beyond the visual stimulation.
Meeting people online is weird and scary. Or that’s what you’re supposed to think, anyway. But I have met some of the most wonderful, supportive, and inspiring people through the internet. Jon just went on a camping trip to Canada with people he had met through the internet! And while that’s a step further than I would take – being a young lady and all – I still think there’s a whole world of friendships and interactions that people are simply not making. And so, if you’re hanging out here on my blog, I encourage you to say hi! Or next time you’re browsing someone’s Instagram, leave a response. The world needs much more of the social. At least, I do anyway.
Do you comment online or interact with people you don’t know personally? Share your thoughts with me below!